Difficult Conversations

Date 24.03.2022
Time 8:30am (GMT), 7:30pm (AEDT)
Location The Launch: Online
Date 25.03.2022
Time 9:30am (AEDT)
Location Ann Harding Conference Centre, Building 24 University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia
Date: 24.03.2022 Time: 8:30am (GMT)
Date: 24.03.2022 Time: 7:30pm (AEDT)
Date: 25.03.2022 Time: 9:30am (AEDT)


Academics, human rights activists and artists will come together to discuss ongoing debates and controversial questions at Difficult Conversations, a symposium scheduled for 24 and 25 March, online and in Canberra.

From conversations about colonialism and First Nations rights to gender-based violence, homophobia and racism, Difficult Conversations explores the role of art and creativity in a polarised society.

Presenters include artists and academics from Northern Ireland and Australia such as 2021 Turner Prize winners Array Collective, acclaimed artist Willie Doherty, Barkindji writer and poet Dr Paul Collis, winner of the David Uniapon Award 2016 and ACT Book of the Year 2018, and University of Canberra Chancellor Tom Calma, social justice campaigner and former ACT Australian of the Year.

Presented by The University of Canberra, Ulster University and the British Council as part of the UK/Australia Season, the symposium marks the start of a longer-term partnership between the academic institutions spanning joint curriculum development, teaching and exchange of scholastic and technical materials; collaborative research and publications; and exchange of staff and students.

Difficult Conversations commences with a livestreamed panel discussion on 24 March exploring culture, creativity, human rights and representation of conflict, framed by a dialogue between artists and academics from Ulster and Canberra.

Dr Paul Collis will perform recent poetic works and Ulster Chancellor Dr Colin Davidson will present his work Silent Testimony – an exhibition of portrait paintings of individual experiences of loss through the Troubles, a turbulent 30-year period in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s onwards. University of Canberra Chancellor Professor Tom Calma and Distinguished Professor Jen Webb will discuss art, poetry and creativity in the context of human rights. From Belfast, Dr Louise Wallace will reference Penumbra, a work that explores the underrepresented voice of female Irish painters through the lens of ‘Troubles Art’.

On 25 March at the University of Canberra a one-day in person symposium will present a series of live panel discussions alongside pre-recorded contributions from Ulster University. These panels combine distinguished and emerging artists and researchers discussing their work in areas including child abuse, First Nations heritage and rights, creative interventions with veterans and first responders, art and collective activism, LGBTQ+ and womens’ rights.

The Launch:

Time & Date: 8:30am–9:30am (GMT) / 7.30pm–8.30 pm (AEDT) Thursday 24 March 2022

Location: online

To register: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_arJAjcUrRzmfVIR8biCgZQ

The Symposium:

Time and date: 9.30am–4.30pm, Friday 25 March 2022 Reception: 4:30pm–5:30pm

Location: Ann Harding Conference Centre, Building 24 University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia

To register: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/difficult-conversations-the-symposium-tickets-275510448167